Feb 27 2009

“An Actual Lesbian Girlfriend,” Or, Why You Should Never Listen to Dan Savage About Bisexuality: The Blowfish Blog

BisexualityI have a new piece up on the Blowfish Blog. It’s about a recent sex advice column by Dan Savage: a writer who I usually like and respect, but who gets it wildly and insultingly wrong about bisexuals (a pattern he’s had for as long as I’ve been reading him, and one that makes me want to tear my hair out).

The piece is called “An Actual Lesbian Girlfriend,” Or, Why You Should Never Listen to Dan Savage About Bisexuality, and here’s the teaser:

In a recent column, Savage compiled a sampler of questions from students on his recent tour of universities. And among them was this question:

“I’m a lesbian, and my girlfriend is bisexual and wants to have a three-way with a man. This makes me nervous. What should I do?”

Savage’s advice?

“Get yourself a refillable Xanax prescription, or get yourself an actual lesbian girlfriend.”


This advice is so irresponsible it made my jaw drop. But because the advice is so terse — and because the snark- to- content ratio is so disproportionately high — it’s a little hard to tease out its actual content, and the actual intent behind it. Near as I can tell, though, it seems to be one of the following three things. All of which suck.

To find out what I think Savage might be trying to say here — and why I think it sucks — read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!


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  1. 1

    Reading the comment thread over at Savage’s column makes me seriously angry. I should stop subjecting myself to that stuff. Anyway, I really hope you’ve sent this to Savage.
    However, I have a sinking suspicion that if he does respond to you, it’ll be the horrifically offensive “Well, you may be an all right bi woman, Greta, but that just means my comment wasn’t about you. I was only writing about the bad bisexuals.”

  2. 2

    Is Lesbonia a real place? Do they sell tickets?

  3. 3
    Jon Berger

    Can I just add a tangential point? The other reason that Savage’s advice was bad is that Xanax isn’t a friggin’ joke. It’s extremely weird stuff, undoubtedly a blessing for people afflicted with real, clinical, lie-on-the-floor-in-fetal-position anxiety attacks, but a really bad idea for just smoothing out life’s little annoyances like your significant other’s sexuality not being up to your standards. I had a doc, a number of years ago, who prescribed it as a sleeping medicine, and it worked extremely well, except that I couldn’t go to sleep without it and I started having blackouts. I understand that Savage doesn’t purport to be a doctor, but still, that was some seriously bad medical advice he was handing out there.

  4. 4

    When I read that answer I thought it was appropriate and funny. Thank you for educating me, Greta!

  5. 5
    The Ridger

    There may be a certain amount of “if you date a bisexual you’re asking for it” here, too. But I think he probably does think bis always end up going hetero.
    And on that topic, may I add how annoyed I am that House has “settled Hadley down” by giving her a male lover?

  6. 6

    Savage seems to have a need to put people in straight/gay boxes. He’s very narrow-minded about that.

  7. 7
    Crystal D.

    You know, I used to think that my lover leaving me for another woman would be horrible, but leaving me for another man would be much worse. Then I dated someone with a gambling addiction, and I realized that nothing can sting like being left for a slot machine… The other person’s sex (if it’s even a person) shouldn’t have anything to do with it.

  8. 8

    Amen, sister! Savage is wrong here, and you are absolutely right. Thanks for saying what I was thinking, but better.

  9. 9

    Savage’s latest column gives strong evidence for Option 3.

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